Prayut declines to confirm July election

Prayut declines to confirm July election

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has said the general election would be held in 2017 but declined to confirm the July schedule he promised earlier.

The general announced last Tuesday the polls would be held in July 2017 regardless of the outcome of the referendum.

Three days later, the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) unveiled the first draft which sets a different schedule, with the election likely to take place in October at the earliest.

CDC chairman Meechai Ruchupan explained more time was needed to draft 10 organic laws.

Gen Prayut on Monday told reporters he had not seen details about the extension, saying it depended on the CDC's legal team.

"I don't know about it or whether the process can be sped up," he said.

The general, however, confirmed the polls will take place in 2017.

Section 259 and 260 of the charter draft stipulates the 10 organic laws must be finished within eight months from the charter promulgation date.

If the CDC does not finish them in time, it will be relieved from duty. The chief of the National Council for Peace and Order will then appoint a new CDC to finish the work, the charter says, without specifying the deadline for the new team to finish the job.

After that, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) will take another 60 days to pass them.

Based on the provision, the roadmap would be 6-4-8-2-5 months — six months for drafting the charter (almost complete), four for preparing for a referendum, eight for drafting 10 organic laws, two for the NLA to pass them and five to prepare the election (Section 259).

The roadmap announced last September was 6-4-6-4, without accommodation for organic law passage by the NLA.

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